- EC has officially launched the European Solar PV Industry Alliance having already endorsed it 2 months back
- The alliance will de-risk investments across the industrial value chain and help deliver on 30 GW annual vertically integrated PV manufacturing target for 2025
- SPE says the alliance now needs to have a dedicated solar fund to build and operate PV factories
After 2 months of formally endorsing the effort, the European Commission (EC) has now officially launched the European Solar PV Industry Alliance, strengthening efforts for European Union (EU) to establish 30 GW annual vertically integrated solar PV manufacturing capacity by 2025; industry now demands a dedicated solar fund.
The 30 GW committed capacity will be across all value chain segments namely polysilicon, ingots, wafers, cells, modules and recycling. It is expected to deliver €60 billion new GDP annually in Europe and also create over 400,000 new direct and indirect jobs.
It will not only mobilize public and private finance for projects to scale up, the presence of an EU approved body will de-risk investments across the industrial value chain for solar PV in the bloc.
According to European solar PV lobby association SolarPower Europe (SPE) this 30 GW target will be an expansion from around 4.5 GW capacity the bloc operates today, and will account for around 75% of solar panels needed for 1 year of new solar projects in Europe at the current rate of installations. Availability of this capacity by 2025 should also boost installations to targeted 320 GW AC by 2025 and 600 GW AC by 2030 under REPowerEU (see EU Announces 600 GW AC Solar Target By 2030).
The alliance will act as a ‘funnel’ for solar manufacturing financing, which now needs a dedicated solar fund to flow into this new funnel to build and run factories.
Policy Director at SPE Dries Acke added, “The EU Solar PV Industry Alliance is a critical recognition of the importance of building solar panels in Europe. It’s the coming-of-age of the European manufacturing story. The Alliance means funding can get to the right projects, but we’ll be cut off at the knees if we don’t have a dedicated solar fund for the Alliance to use.”
The alliance will comprise various stakeholders including industry, research institutes, consumer associations, NGO among others and will engage with the member states and even forge international partnerships to strengthen local manufacturing efforts (see Kick-Off For EU Solar Photovoltaic Industry Alliance).
The formation of the alliance should give confidence to the European solar industry that has recently heard of Maxeon Solar Technologies shuttering its 44 MW French fab and REC Group putting 4 GW heterojunction module factory plans for France on hold (see REC Group’s French Heterojunction Factory Plans ‘On Hold’).
Some good news came from Peter Fath, CEO of RCT Solution, a German engineering company planning vertically integrated solar module factories around the world, and which was among others involved in setting up the only vertically integrated module plant in wider Europe, Kalyon 2 GW+ factory in Turkey. He said that 3 factories of a 5 GW level each are part of his portfolio being planned in Europe right now. The key to establish sustainable manufacturing in Europe is that they are cost-competitive with Chinese peers – i.e. ex-works + 1 euro cent unless there is some protection like in India or US, that means they have to be vertically integrated and at least 5 GW large with competitive power prices from solar systems to power them that should be part of the factory planning. And addressing the European Commission, he added, “There will be phases of dumping again, please protect us by intelligent measures.”
Mark Rechter, CEO of start-up MCPV looking into manufacturing in Europe, commented on a panel, ‘We have 6 months in Europe – that’s what the IRS needs to put the IRA into practice . Otherwise everyone will move to the US. We need an exemption on state aid rules now.’
Jochen Hauff, director sustainability, at BayWa r.e., the world’s largest solar product distributor and also a large RE power plant developer agreed on relaxing state aid rules. On the other hand, he emphasized that competitiveness is key, saying,’ We do not need 300 or so small manufacturers in Europe but some major players that are able to compete.’